Almost half of South Africans do not report crime: Report

Police Committee livestream 1 - Almost half of South Africans do not report crime: Report

Sixty percent of South Africans do not report theft of personal property, street robbery or common assault.

While 47% of South Africans do not report housebreaking, home robbery and deliberate damage to property or arson to the police.

Statistics South Africa released these statistics in the Victims of Crime 2018/19 report in Pretoria on Thursday.

The report is extracted from the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS), which replaced the Victims of Crime Survey.

The Victim of Crime Survey is based on interviews with South Africans about their personal experiences and is not based on the number of dockets like the police’s crime statistics, which was released earlier in 2019.

The Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, says the survey shows almost half of crimes are not reported.

“At this point, we get a better understanding of what happens when a crime incident occurs and people are victimised because of crime and they choose to report or not. Because in the event where they would have reported, you would have the incidents not being different all together, but here we have spoken directly to the victims and this is what the victims are saying.”

He says theft of personal property, street robbery and assault increased, although only 40% of these crimes were reported to the police.

“About a million people aged 16 and up experience theft of personal property, in 2018/19 and this was about 2.54% of the population of persons 16 and older. Theft of personal property accounted for 2.54%, Street robbery for 1% and assault 0.7%.”

The survey indicated that almost 50% of assaults were committed to someone close to the victim. 22% were assaulted by a friend or acquaintance, 15% by a spouse or partner and 13% by a relative or other household member.

Maluleke says the reporting of sexual offences increased drastically.

“88% of the victims of sexual offences reported at least one incident. This is an increase from 73% from 2017/18. So, that 88% goes on to increase by about 13% points, and of course, the SAPS data also shows an increase of sexual offences between 2017/18 and of course, 2018/19 it indicated it came from about 50 000 to about 52 000.”

While sexual offences reporting increased, 47% of South Africans do not report housebreaking, home robbery or deliberate damage to property and arson.

About 1.6 million households in the country experienced these crime in the past 12 months.

“When do these housebreaking experiences occur? They peak the most in the month of June, and around November and December.”

The survey indicated that people feel safer walking in their neighbourhoods by day and night, although women still feel unsafe walking alone in general .

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